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4 ways for LTCI specialists to reach out

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When I look at the long-term care (LTC) planning snapshot, 2014 has been quite a year.

In my 18 years as a long-term care insurance (LTCI) specialist, I have never seen more individuals and families having the discussion about this, and making a plan for this potential reality, than I do today!  

See also: 4 ways to help LTC planning clients believe in themselves

This year had some bumps in the road for overall national sales, but, as I traveled the country this year, I can attest to meeting a large number of financial professionals whose LTC sales have really grown because conversations with clients have been a major focus.

Some of the trends I heard about related to how financial professionals are thinking about younger and older LTC planning clients. 

  • Clients in younger age groups (ages 40 to 55) are opening up to their financial professionals and are more interested in finding financial solutions to this costly problem. When I gave presentations this year, I found my audiences consisted of people under 55. Just a few years ago, the average age of attendees and interested consumers was well into the 60s. Members of the younger age group are experiencing the burdens that an LTC situation can create in their own families. 

  • Older adults (over 65) are finding it difficult to meet LTCI underwriting requirements. Are you aware that, in many ways, American men, women and children are at the unhealthiest levels in the history of our country? Top financial professionals have had to become “critical thinkers” for these individuals and have had to work to find other solutions for this large segment. Regardless of client age or health issues, each financial professional said to me, “Wendy, everyone deserves to have this conversation, and they deserve to hear about it from me!”   

Here are some of the ideas that top pros incorporated into their practices in 2014 to broaden LTC solutions beyond traditional LTCI products used in traditional ways. 

Walker with an umbrella

1. Life insurance products with LTC rider

This is both a life insurance and long-term care insurance product in one. 

The amount of long-term care benefit is often expressed in terms of a percentage of the life benefit. Although these are fairly new in the industry, they really can be quite comprehensive, depending on which insurance company you look at.

There are many clients that have that “lazy money” just sitting in a CD earning very little interest, so financial professionals move that money to pay an initial premium and purchase this combination product.

One other comment: There are many people who are concerned that their investment premiums will not be used if they do not need care. This product does become their financial solution.

See also: NAILBA 33: 5 funding options for LTCI

Package

2. Annuities with a long-term care rider

These may vary significantly, but in general they allow an individual to purchase a fixed deferred annuity with an LTC rider. The annuity may pay out a certain number of years or for life. 

Some of the financial professionals I spoke with said they like to make sure they look at the product carefully to address what kind of LTC coverage it offers. The rider may not cover home care, for example, or include inflation protection. The top performers do the research to make sure a rider fits the client’s needs.

See also: Shawn Britt on LTC planning: Status report

Bookstore owners

3. Small business solutions 

It wasn’t that long ago that businesses generally weren’t given any tax incentives for themselves as business owners, their spouses or those they wish to provide an LTC solution. The top pros I talked with are working with accountants to spread the word to small business owners.

The end results are very happy business owners, long-term care insurance sales growth and a constant stream of business and individual referrals. 

See also: Long-Term Care Insurance as an Asset

The Conversation

4. The Conversation: “Let’s Talk”

Now more than ever, long-term care planning involves a full discussion and not only with the client. Many are tackling this topic head on with their loved ones sitting next to them. The issues pertaining to long-term care planning involve not only care, but expenses, the physical demands of caregiving, and jobs being put on hold or lost in the overwhelming effort to be a care provider for a loved one.

For more information go to Let’s Talk.

In any case: The professionals who shared these ideas fully recognize the possible financial casualties associated with an unmet LTC need both today and in their clients’ future.

And the future?  The financial industry continues to move forward with robust innovative and creative product answers. As professionals, we must stay abreast of these developments and financial solutions for our clients and our businesses.

If you have recommendations for helping to increase consumer awareness around the social and financial issues related to long-term care (LTC) situations, I invite you to share them below in the comments area.  I know the readers of LifeHealthPro would love to hear your suggestions.

See also: 5 easy ways to get real on Thanksgiving